A man on a yoga mat practices meditation and breathing exercises

Healing Through Breath and Meditation

Last updated: December 2022

A lot has been written and said about the benefits of meditation. It could help relieve stress, reduce anxiety, improve concentration, foster kindness, and boost immunity to name a few merits. Practicing meditation might propel one to slow down, allowing a deeper reflection of the self to transpire. Additionally, it may help transcend thought, not letting the worries of the world threaten the well-being of an individual.

Initially, all of this sounded a bit too heavy to comprehend. Moreover, there are a host of techniques available on social media platforms such as transcendental, progressive, spiritual, visualization and many more that I found it confusing to choose one.

Why meditate?

Over the past few years, the ongoing battle with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) has made me particularly vulnerable. Initially, HS appeared like a fierce form of acne in areas such as the armpits, breasts, groin, inner thighs, and buttocks. It is very painful and drains a foul-smelling fluid. This had elicited a wide range of emotions like anger, grief, fear, and depression.

Dealing with the complications of stage 2 had thrown life out of gear. It had become blatantly implausible to sit with eyes closed and avail the benefits of looking inward. But I do admit to having given up very quickly. Moreover, motivational quotes, lectures by The Dalai Lama, interviews of Dr.Deepak
Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, and Jaggi Vasudev provide a quick timely burst of wisdom offering a source of inspiration, hope, and solace much needed during trying times. Books such as The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Amazing Results Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay had already helped me practice self-inquiry. Reading had brought about a shift in my thinking too, propelling me to view life from the other side of the fence. So, why meditate, was a question I would often ponder upon.

Healing through breath and meditation

Since my diagnosis, I had been experimenting with various medicines and treatments such as antibiotics, steroids, hormonal therapy, retinoids, Ayurveda, and homeopathy. A few treatment plans helped lessen the symptoms. But it had become increasingly tiring to embrace the constant cycle of flare-ups that kept gnawing at my skin.

That’s when a friend suggested SKY (Sudarshan Kriya Yoga), a technique that helps deal with stress particularly related to a medical illness. It involves learning and practicing a few rhythmic and cyclical breathing processes. Moreover, independent studies published by Yale News, Cambridge University Press, Penn Medicine News, Harvard Medical School and many more have shown a significant decrease in cortisol levels among participants who practiced SKY. It may also reduce the effect of mental trauma, improve sleep quality, provide a healthier heart rate and blood pressure values, increase antioxidant production, and so on.

Just like waking up early, staying hydrated, eating on time, or reciting positive affirmations, I added SKY to my checklist. It became an integral part of my daily routine.

What really is meditation?

For a long time, I tried very hard to understand and decode mediation. My overthinking mind analyzed everything. In the process, I realized that the more I tried to get a grip on it, the harder it was to experience the subtleties of the process. Moreover, I was in a hurry to notice positive changes and avail the benefits of the process rather than enjoy the technique itself. This had, by far, been the biggest impediment to practicing mindfulness.

Meditation, however, is an ongoing practice. Initially, what I failed to understand was that meditation is the opposite of concentration. But after having learned how to meditate under the guidance of a teacher, I succeeded a great deal in letting go/focusing less on repeated behavioral patterns or negative emotions that would drain my energy levels.

I surely have taken the necessary steps to manage HS and thankfully, my symptoms have been under check ever since. But utilizing tools such as mediation, yoga, and practicing a few breathing techniques have contributed largely to healing emotional scars. In the long run, these practices can harness the untapped potential and strength which lay hidden in each one of us. Furthermore, SKY has enhanced my ability and will-power to accept the existence of this medical condition which is part of the resolution.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HSDisease.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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